Cistanche phelypaea | UAE National Red List of Vascular Plants

Cistanche phelypaea | (L.) Cout.
Countries in Assessment
United Arab Emirates
Country ISO code(s)
Does the assessment cover a marine EEZ area(s)?
Scope (Assessment)
Taxonomic Group
Taxonomic Group Level 2
Flowering Plants
Assessed taxon level
Taxon distribution as listed in assessment
Within the UAE, this species occurs in the Liwa area to the south of the country. It is also found in inland plantation sites. The distribution is uncertain due to confusion with Cistanche tubulosa. Globally, the native range of this species spans across the Mediterranean, Macaronesia and northern Africa to the Arabian Peninsula (Board of Trustees, RBG Kew 2019).
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
Cistanche phelypaea is known to be a common parasite of shrub species, including Cornulaca monacantha and, occasionally, Zygophyllum qatarense (Brown et al. 2007, MEW 2010). The plant can reach up to 60 cm in height, has alternate scale-like leaves, in addition to dense spikes of yellow flowers which can be seen between December and March (Jongbloed et al. 2003, Karim and Dkaheel 2006, Norton et al. 2009). It is known to grow along roadsides, in plantations and farms, and is considered to be highly salt tolerant (Karim and Dakheel 2006, Norton et al 2009, MEW 2010). This species is also considered to be a weed and is known to be grazed by the sand gazelle, Gazella subgutturosa (Hornby 2003, Karim and Dakheel 2006).
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Least Concern
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment rationale/justification
This species is relatively widespread in the UAE, occurring inland and within farm areas in addition to plantations. It is a parasite and is described as common within its range, in addition to being highly salt-tolerant and even considered as a weed in some areas. Although this plant is known to be grazed by gazelles, it is not known whether these factors pose a threat to the species. Therefore, this species is assessed as Least Concern.
About the assessment
Assessment year
Assessors/contributors/reviewers listed
UAE National Red List Workshop
Affliation of assessor(s)/contributors/reviewers listed on assessment
Assessor affiliation specific
Criteria system
Criteria system specifics
IUCN v3.1 + Regional Guidelines v4.0
Criteria system used
Criteria Citation
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1, Second edition. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. iv + 32pp pp. And IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN. iii + 41pp.
Endemic to region
Endemism Notes
Is an endemic?: Not_assigned
Threats listed in assessment
This species may be grazed by livestock and wild animals, however, it is unknown whether this poses a major threat to the species.
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

Scientific Name Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Cistanche phelypaea Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Lamiales Orobanchaceae Cistanche